Realignment of the California prison system begins today under AB 109, following the Supreme Court’s mandate in Brown v. Plata, and constitutes “the most radical change in the prison system in decades.” The plan, which will transfer the state’s responsibility for lower-level drug offenders, thieves and other convicts to county jurisdictions, is designed to reduce the state’s corrections costs while also reducing its prison population. The stakes of the implementation of this plan could not be higher, as it represents the first radical shift in prison policy in decades towards prison population reduction, but comes clouded by predictable fears about public safety and variously grounded uncertainties about whether or not California is prepared for this systemic change. Read more here.
In other California news, on Friday, the Pelican Bay hunger strikers’ lawyers requested a meeting with Governor Jerry Brown to discuss their obstructed access to prison facilities resulting from actions by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations. The L.A. Times reports here.